By Bryan Levine, SunCoast Sports
PORT CHARLOTTE — It’s been a long journey to recovery for Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Matt Duffy, who made his second rehab appearance Thursday night with the Charlotte Stone Crabs.
Going 1-for-3 with the bat, and tested just twice in the field, Duffy continued to build up his stamina.
“It was a little sore at the end maybe. I felt great at the beginning,” Duffy said. “I feel like I’ve been on my feet a lot the last two games. That’s encouraging.”
Duffy’s 2016 season was cut short with complications from an Achilles heel injury, which led to offseason surgery for the 26-year-old.
There was one play in the field Thursday night in which Duffy had to range far to his glove side. He didn’t complete the throw in time, but most importantly, the heel felt strong on the play.
“I was expecting it to not feel great, but it felt fine (on that play),” Duffy said. “I think I had a little bit of hesitation just getting to the ball and getting rid of it. I was a little deliberate. I was happy with how it felt.”
At the start of spring training, Duffy had hoped to be ready by Opening Day, but slow progress delayed his debut. He says he’ll have an off day today before returning to play with Charlotte on Saturday.
It was the second game Duffy had appeared with the Stone Crabs. He went 1-for-3 on Tuesday against the Clearwater Threshers. He’s expected to rehab in Charlotte for close to two weeks.